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Should I avoid my triggers for panic attacks?

47 Answers
Last Updated: 03/30/2020 at 4:14pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jennifer Fritz, LMSW, PhD

Clinical Social Work/Therapist

Day to day life can be stressful and overwhelming and my strength is assisting my clients in a supportive, empowering and practical manner.

Top Rated Answers
September 11th, 2014 6:54am
Yes, trying to avoid one's triggers is essential in my experience. It won't always be possible, of course, but making a conscious effort to avoid triggers can really improve one's quality of life. If you know beforehand something might be triggering for you, there is nothing wrong with putting yourself first and doing everything in your power to avoid the potentially triggering situation.
October 27th, 2014 5:08pm
Yes and no. Approach them in moderation. It might help you get over them slowly, like introducing a new pet to a household.
April 3rd, 2015 3:58pm
Panic attacks are very hard to deal with. The trouble with avoidance though is that one never learns how to deal with the situations that cause you to panic, and that isn't helpful in the long run. Speaking from experience, it's better to face your fears, unless you really cannot bring yourself to do so. If you panic, that's okay, and if you don't, then you are proving to yourself that the situation is not always a trigger and that's brilliant progress. Coping with crippling anxiety is very difficult, I completely understand the attraction of avoiding triggers of panic attacks. Don't allow your anxiety to control your life by avoiding the things that make you anxious - remember that YOU are I control, not the anxiety and panic!
September 11th, 2014 10:39pm
It depends, but one is never obliged to put their [mental or physical] health and/or safety at risk.
November 24th, 2015 8:33pm
It depends. I suffer from panic attacks, and my triggers include alcohol and social situations in general. I try to avoid alcohol, as it is something that is easily avoidable and would not affect my quality of life if I didn't have it. However, I try not to avoid social situations just because it has the potential to trigger a panic attack, as it is important to maintain social interactions. Instead, I try to make it as comfortable an environment for myself as possible - for example, bring a friend - to prevent triggering a panic attack (and if it does trigger one, they'll be there to help).
September 25th, 2014 2:51am
I think it depends on the trigger and sometimes the length of time since the trigger event happened. If it's a recent traumatic event, such as the death of a young child - avoiding birthday parties is completely understandable. And for some people, it may always be a trigger. For others, they may be able to be present at such events after a length of time has passed (and that time frame differs for everyone). I think it all depends on the individual person. I also believe, though, that if a trigger is still as fresh several years from the date of the event, that a person should consider seeking support from a professional to work through these feelings and let the trigger emotions evolve into something more manageable. No one should have to live with that heavy of an emotional burden for so long. Especially if the trigger is interfering with your ability to live a normal day to day life.
November 2nd, 2014 9:06am
No. Avoiding the triggers can cause a bigger problem you're already in. It is better to face them and deal with them in the correct manner.
July 28th, 2015 10:26am
Do not completely avoid them. Have enough exposure so that you eventually become comfortable or used to them. Complete isolation from them can make their influence worse
May 23rd, 2016 1:53pm
It's best to avoid triggers whenever you can. Some people tell you to learn to manage them which is great, but it can cause unneeded stress in your life.
September 12th, 2014 8:38pm
If you are in a fragile state or without available support then it may be wise to avoid your triggers. But, when you are feeling more confident in yourself and your abilities to handle stress I think it is healthy to expose yourself to them. Continued exposure makes your triggers less scary and they will have less power over you. (think of jumping into a cold swimming pool - yes, it's jarring, but you get used to it). I try and be mindful that 'distressing does not equal dangerous.' Just because it feels bad/scary/uncomfortable doesn't mean you are in danger. You are truly having those feelings and your feelings are real, but they are not hard facts. It is very difficult to separate the two and having the support of someone you trust to help you through it is really helpful.
November 7th, 2014 1:04am
Yes, but also recognize what it is about the triggers that cause you to have a panic attack so you can learn to handle them better when the triggers do pop up.
November 17th, 2014 11:48am
Panic attacks can be overwhelming ! I personal avoid triggers until I'm well enough to manage the situation and myself !
July 21st, 2015 2:19pm
Although it's sometimes wise to avoid triggers, avoiding every trigger every time is likely to increase your anxiety in the long run. Each time you avoid a 'triggering' situation, your world gets a little smaller. It's as if your anxiety learns that it can bully you into missing out on the things you used to enjoy, or the things you need to get done. When you avoid your triggers, anxiety wins. Meet your triggers in a mild way in a safe environment. Watching your anxiety rise and fade is the best way to learn that you can get through triggering situations without having a panic attack. Gradually increase the intensity of the triggers and your anxiety is likely to decrease over time. All that being said, there will be times when it's unsafe or inappropriate to face your triggers and times when you deserve to give yourself a break. Consider what will be best for you and pick your battles.
October 14th, 2014 7:46am
Make a goal to slowly build the bravery to expose yourself to something that may trigger you; soon it will no longer a fear.
May 23rd, 2015 7:59pm
Yes, I always think it's a good idea to avoid all triggers at all times. Because if you avoid triggers - there may be less involvement for your panic attacks. I hope all goes well!
September 9th, 2015 12:49pm
Some people feel this may be the best solution, but if you avoid triggers, the anxiety will never get better. I suffer from Emetephobia, an extreme fear of vomiting, it has many impacts on my life and the events I take part in. One for example, is eating lunch with other children. I eat in the Learning Support room at school, but this isn't helping me too improve. I would say, when you feel comfortable, start taking small steps in facing up too this anxiety trigger
December 15th, 2015 4:20am
It depends on what triggers you; for example; if a certain scent triggers a panic attack, you should avoid it, but say, if it's the smell of hand soap (or another common scent), avoiding it would be completely unrealistic, and you should seek out better ways to deal wit this trigger.
September 14th, 2014 1:19pm
Not necessarily, one could consider it exposure therapy and face fears gradually. On another hand, if you're at a point in your life where it's very difficult for you to handle it, avoid it until you can.
September 27th, 2014 12:34am
Absolutely not. This will cause you to have more anxiety. I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and have made the mistakes of avoiding things that make me feel anxious. You'll miss out on a lot of things and that's not what you want.
October 23rd, 2014 8:15pm
Of course you should! its emotionally unhealthy to purposely emerge yourself Into situations in which you may be triggered.
October 25th, 2014 5:18am
I think it all depends on what your triggers are. Some shouldn't be avoided, such as work or school deadlines. I feel like better handling of your triggers produces better results than simply avoiding them.
October 25th, 2014 9:46am
Avoiding your triggers can end up making you panic about them even more when you have no other choice but to face them. First learn to control your panic attacks by noticing when one is about to happen then controlling your breathing. This is a task that takes some time and a lot of practice.
October 25th, 2014 11:09pm
Yes, it can be immensely helpful to avoid triggers. triggers may need to be processed in the future, but that can be done with a trained professional in a safe environment.
October 27th, 2014 1:35am
Yes, definately. If you know what the triggers are then by all means avoid them because you dont want to be provoking the attacks and allowing them to contine.
October 29th, 2014 4:15pm
No. I have panic attacks too, and I often put myself in the situations where I would often get an attack, and I've become so used to the situation that it doesn't bother me anymore.
October 29th, 2014 9:01pm
No. You should remind yourself what your triggers are so you're more prepared. The more ready you are the less likely you are to experience the panic attacks.
November 2nd, 2014 7:00pm
It's never a good idea to completely remove your triggers - this can lead to anxiety developing and getting worse; instead of avoiding them completely, consider approaching them in a more controlled way - get a friend to support you, be by your side, walk away if it gets too much but always go back a little bit further than last time. Small, positive steps are the way forward here.
November 10th, 2014 2:59am
Yes, yes you should. If these things are bringing you into an anxiety attack, it would be unhealthy to continue visiting them. The best thing would be to focus on other things.
November 12th, 2014 10:31pm
You can't avoid them because they are subconscious. What you have to do is to find them and be aware of them. When you do this, you will be able to consciously stop them.
November 15th, 2014 4:54pm
No, try figure out what's triggering them and try avoid those things, if you can't try seeking help